On the surface, coming up with an idea for web content seems easy. Think of something people will find interesting, write it and publish it. That?s all you need to do right? Try it for a month and let me know how you get on.

Coming up with good ideas for web content is harder than it looks. Certainly much harder than many marketers seem to realise. Anyone can produce content. Fewer can product good content that people can engage with and want to share. Only the latter has any use in your content marketing efforts.

Here are five methods I use to generate great web content ideas.

1. Answer questions your customers are asking

Or answer questions they haven?t yet asked but are likely to. Value is at the heart of content marketing. Everything you produce for consumption should offer value to the reader. Answering questions about your product or service is a great way to engage with your audience.

People read because they want to make life better. If you can contribute to that, you?re onto a winner.

Collect common questions you are asked by your customers, look at what general questions are out there in your industry, read your blog comments or look at trending topics on Twitter. There are lots of ways to find questions that you can answer. A great place to find questions is on forums. Check forums in your niche and look for common questions and then answer them.

2. Interview someone

Know a mover and shaker within your industry? Know an inventor, leader, thinker or other interesting person? Interview them and post the results. Arranging an interview with someone you know is much easier than contacting someone you don?t know so make the most of them.

If you don?t know anyone worth interviewing, ask a customer for an interview and treat it as a case study. Or if you?re feeling brave, reach out to an influencer and ask them for an interview. You can send them the questions within the email or ask for a follow up phone conversation, up to you.

3. Find something and improve upon it

Do you have a really good post that you could make better? Does a competitor have a popular post that you could improve upon? Is there something out there that you can take and make it your own? Using other pieces of work as inspiration is perfectly acceptable as long as you make it original and offer attributes if you take quotes.

Adding more detail, more depth or just more to an existing piece is a common content marketing tactic. Just make sure it ends up completely original and in your own words. There is a fine line between inspiration and copying and you should always stay on the right side of that line.

4. Make predictions

Some of the most popular content marketing pieces are those that make predictions. ?Top 5 smartphones to watch at MWC? or ?What does the future hold for cloud computing?? type posts work very well all year round but especially during January and February.

The important thing about making prediction is that even if you?re wrong, it doesn?t matter as long as you write with authority and with reasoned predictions. People don?t mind if you don?t get it right as long as you entertain them.

5. Opinions, everyone has one

You know the saying so we won?t repeat it here. What we will say is that opinion pieces are some of the most powerful content marketing tools available. As long as you write with passion and conviction, you can?t go far wrong. Don?t go all Donald Trump and insult everyone, or even anyone though.

Have an opinion, explain that opinion and your reasons behind it. If someone notable has an opposite opinion, counter it with reason. Let them know what you?re doing too as it could spark quite the debate on social media. Either you against the person with the opposite view or your followers against theirs. As long as it?s all done reasonably, no harm done. Everyone likes a good debate and ideas are there to be challenged.

There are five ways to generate great web content ideas. Got any more you would like to share?

If you don?t feel like generating web content ideas yourself, Coastal Content can do it for you. Contact us to learn more!

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